Raymond man's hope for working van realized
By JASON SCHREIBER
Union Leader Correspondent | June 17. 2013 7:06PM
Bruce Gatchell shows off the gold medals he won in wheelchair races at the Special Olympics New Hampshire Summer Games earlier this month as he prepares to board his new wheelchair van for the first time on Monday. (JASON SCHREIBER PHOTO)
"Thank you!" he said with excitement Monday morning as he prepared to board his new wheelchair van for the first time.
"It's a huge relief and we couldn't have done it without everybody's help. I have half of my thank you cards out and I still have a bagful," said Lisa Duford, Gatchell's sister who helps care for him at her home in Raymond where he also lives.
The Arlens no longer needed their 2001 Chrysler Town and Country nicknamed "Bella" for transporting Victoria because the 18-year-old was able to transfer into a car.
Thanks to the use of Arlen's van over the past several months, Gatchell was able to continue his training for Special Olympics on his Exeter team and earlier this month won gold medals in the 10-meter, 25-meter, and 100-meter wheelchair races during the Summer Games held at the University of New Hampshire.
Duford said the new van cost $10,000 with another $1,000 spent on other work needed before it could be used. The remaining $3,000 in donations has been set aside to help with future maintenance costs, she said.
Jones, who often drives Gatchell to activities, also thanked the many who donated to the cause.